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Bahnar - Dzao - Ede - H'mong - Jarai - Muong - Nung - Xe Dang - Tay - Thai - Where To Visit The Hill Tribes   - The Hill Tribes


Pop: 25,000
Origin: China
Area: Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dac Lac
Economy: livestock, forest products
Belief system: animism
Cultural characteristics: The E De language is a member of the Chamic group of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. It is related to the Cham language of central Vietnam and the Malayo-Polynesian languages of Indonesia, Malaysia, Madagascar, Philippines and other Pacific Islands (Hawaii, New Zealand, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Guam, Fiji, etc.). They have a writing system developed on the basis of the Latin script in the 1920s.

Kinship and Social Structure
The E De practice matrilineal descent. Descent is traced through the female line, and family property is in the hands of and inherited from women. The basic kinship unit is the matrilineage; these are grouped into higher-level matrilineal sibs (matrisibs). The E De are further divided into two phratries. The women of a matrilineage and their spouses and children live together in a longhouse. The lineage holds corporate property such as paddy land, cattle, gongs, and jars; these are held by the senior female of the matrilineage. The lineage also engages in the farming of common lands and maintenance of the longhouse. The head of the longhouse itself is a man, with the position most commonly inherited by the spouse of the daughter or sister-in-law of the previous longhouse head.

Matrilineages and matrisibs are exogamous, with both sexual intercourse and marriage prohibited. The phratries also impose some restrictions on marriage. Couples violating these restrictions must sacrifice a buffalo, though violating phratry restrictions are generally not seen as being as serious, and require only the sacrifice of a pig. Residence is matrilocal.

E De villages were traditionally autonomous and governed by an oligarchy of leading families. Some villages became locally dominant, but none formed any larger political structures.


Source from Lonely Planet